Denver Broncos Head Coach Candidate: Kyle Shanahan

With Denver Broncos coaching search beginning in full force, lets examine a top candidate: Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan…

Monday morning, an emotional Gary Kubiak stood before the podium and announced his retirement from coaching the Denver Broncos.  Gary has been a tremendous hire from the day he took over the Denver Broncos roughly two years ago.  He is a natural leader of men—a staple of a great football coach.  Monday afternoon, the Denver Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway began his search for his third head coach.  At the very top of the list is a familiar name:  Shanahan.  No no, not Mike Shanahan, the Denver Broncos two-time Super Bowl winning head coach from 1995-2008.  No, this time it should be his son, Kyle Shanahan.

The Younger Shanahan

Aug 11, 2016; Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

For the Denver Broncos, Kyle Shanahan makes more sense then any other coaching candidate out there.  He fits what John Elway wants—a young head coach.  “Obviously there are a lot of young guys out there that have a lot of potential and very bright young guys, so hopefully we can get one of those.”  Elway stated after Gary Kubiak spoke to the media Monday morning.  Another thing Elway spoke about—improving the offensive production on this team.  This is something that Kyle Shanahan has done throughout his eight year career as an offensive coordinator, which happened to begin on Gary Kubiak’s staff with the Houston Texans.

Shanahan’s resume is being a great, and creative offensive mind.  Creativity is something that has been sorely lacking since Adam Gase left the team after the 2014 season.  Shanahan turned Robert Griffin III into the rookie of the year.  He helped Brian Hoyer lead the Cleveland Browns to a winning record.  Now he is the architect of the best offense in football with the Atlanta Falcons.  There is nothing the Falcons don’t do well on offense.  They run the ball tremendous, and Matt Ryan is a leading candidate for MVP.

Continuity

The best part about Shanahan’s offense however—it uses the same basic principles as Gary Kubiak’s offense.  One of the hardest things to do in the National Football League is learn a brand new offense.  This rings especially true when you are a young quarterback in this league.  The Broncos have two of those in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch.  These two have only learned under Gary Kubiak during their time in the NFL.  Not having to start from scratch would be huge for both Siemian and Lynch.

Kyle Shanahan will bring the perfect offense to the Denver Broncos.  He would keep the same principles, but expand on them.  Shanahan isn’t just going to use a zone-blocking scheme.  He will also implement power, and gap concepts as well.  His offense is unpredictable, and very creative.

Another thing he has done well throughout his career as an offensive coordinator is mold his offense to his players strengths.  This is something that defensively, Wade Phillips has done a masterful job the past two years.  However, on offense, Gary Kubiak struggled with this—mainly getting the most out of his quarterbacks.

A year ago, it was Peyton Manning that struggled to mesh with Kubiak.  Kubiak tried his best to make Peyton more comfortable, but the only time Manning really looked himself was in the final drive against the Chiefs in week two when he had to go hurry up, no huddle, and let it rip.   This year, Kubiak has taken a lot of criticism for not playing first round draft pick Paxton Lynch.  Lynch came from a shotgun, spread college offense, so to experience success as a starter, Kubiak would have needed to build an offense around what Lynch did best.  He was unwilling to do this and ended up going with the lesser talent in Trevor Siemian.  Siemian had a better grip on the offense, but is certainly not as physically gifted as Lynch.

Past Success

Jul 29, 2016; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

With Kyle Shanahan, you don’t see and unwillingness to make changes.  You saw him put Robert Griffin III in the best possible offense to succeed.  RGIII was a superstar in his rookie season, and the Redskins won that division.  Shanahan had Brian Hoyer playing at a pro bowl level a few years back, and the Browns were right in the thick of the playoff hunt until he tore his ACL.  And in just two seasons, he has created an offense that is darn-near unstoppable down in Atlanta.  The Falcons are currently the second seed in the NFC, thanks in large part to the success that Kyle Shanahan has ha

The Man For the Job

Kyle Shanahan is the man to take on this job.  He is a young guy, has a brilliant offensive mind, works well with QB’s, and runs a similar scheme to what the Denver Broncos have been running for the past two years.  Check, check, check, and check.  If Shanahan were to be hired, he’d be smart to retain Wade Phillips and the defensive staff.  Not having to worry about 1/3 of the units will help any young rookie head coach.  With Wade in place, the Broncos are going to have a top defensive in the league.  It will be on Shanahan to come in and make the offense better, and help one of these two young quarterbacks become a star in this league.

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Kyle Shanahan makes sense for the Denver Broncos.  He is the best available option, and the Broncos best chance to get back to the big game and win it again.  Make this happen John Elway.

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